ENGLAND football fans have been issued with a massive World Cup warning against displaying St George’s flags at team games ahead of the highly anticipated event.
By JOSEPH CAREY Daily Express 16th May 2018
Mark Roberts, England’s head of football policing warned the flag could be seen as “imperialistic” in Vladimir Putin’s superstate. He said: “I think people need to be really careful with flags. It can come across as imperialistic and cause antagonism.”
Mr Roberts added the “style of policing” in Russia is “really different” as he urged fans to be aware of an increased police presence. ou will see thousands of police as you approach the stadium. You will be walking down avenues of police with shields, helmets and guns.”
Met Police Chief Inspector Joseph Stokoe added to the warning by emphasising authority numbers in Russia will be “off the scale”. He explained: “People need to be aware that the numbers of police and military that you will see at games will frankly be off the scale as to what you see in the UK.”
Mark Roberts said one of the biggest concerns in Russia surrounds a “stag party excess” that could heavily aggravate police forces and residents in the superstate. Any student of history will know Russian casualties during World War Two were horrific. If people from any other country got drunk and placed their flag on the Cenotaph it would make the locals here angry.”
But the chief executive of the England Supporters’ Federation, Kevin Miles, added England fans will have to treat the Russian cities hosting the event with “respect”. “It is one thing to hang a flag up in a bar where the landlord has been taking your money. But it is quite another to put in a place of particular sensitivity. We want to be treated as welcome guests.”
Police chief Roberts insisted both the UK and Russia want to make a success of the sporting event despite increasingly frosty tensions following the use of a military grade nerve agent on Sergei Skripal and his daughter in Salisbury in March.
He remarked: “Russia is committed to providing a safe haven and a festival of football.
Notwithstanding everything else that is going on, we do have a shared interest in this.”
CEP Comment: The English flag ceased to be imperialistic in 1707 with the creation of Great Britain and the adoption of the Union flag. Sadly, we suspect that waving the flag of St George will be the least of the worries of anyone going to Russia to support football this summer.